Journey to the Manger: Simeon

Jackson and Lauren show their art project puzzles of Simeon.

Jackson and Lauren show their art project puzzles of Simeon.

We met another friend today in the Temple on our Journey to the Manger: a righteous man named Simeon.

Simeon

Simeon

Simeon was given an amazing promise from God. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. Many think that Simeon was an old man by the time he entered the Temple in Luke Chapter 2. Even though Simeon’s age was not recorded, we do know that he believed wholeheartedly in God’s Word. He knew He would see the Christ, and lived each day accordingly.

Some may have been discouraged or even disheartened when time continued to pass with no consolation. Yet, when Simeon woke up each morning, he knew he was one day closer to seeing God’s promise fulfilled. He continued to believe and make himself available to be moved by God.

It becomes easier to make a basket the closer you get!

It becomes easier to make a basket the closer you get!

Today we tried out our basketball skills, attempting to score points in the trash can. First, we started half a room away from the basket. Amazingly, Lauren actually got one in! Each round, we moved one step closer to the goal, until we stood right in front of the can and shot every ball in.

The longer Simeon lived, the more his hope must have grown. He knew God would do what He said. As the time added up, the possibility grew that He would see the Messiah that day. Finally, the Holy Spirit guided him to the Temple the day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to complete what was required under the law. Simeon couldn’t contain himself! He knew this child was the one he had waited for. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and held Him close. He praised his Heavenly Father for such a gift!

Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples—a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.

– Luke 2:29-32

Simeon never gave up. He believed God’s promise, and knew he would one day see the Savior. Not only did he behold Jesus with his own eyes, he was able to hold Him in his arms.

When we grow weary believing, or struggle to hold on to what God has promised, we must remember that we are one day closer to seeing God’s Word fulfilled. Just like Simeon, we can hold on to Jesus and find peace. Don’t give up! God’s promises are sure.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.

Journey to the Manger: Zechariah the prophet

Lauren pats down wet toilet paper to cover a bowl. Though the project wasn't finished today (on purpose!), the kids did get to splash quite a bit of water around.

Lauren intently works on her art project

On our Journey to the Manger today, we became friends with Zechariah the prophet.

God used Zechariah to call for repentance, as well as encourage the people of Israel. God reinforced His promises of hope and salvation through Zechariah, reminding the Hebrews that the Messiah was coming to rule as King. Even though they were facing difficult circumstances, the people knew that one day the Savior would arrive!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

– Zechariah 9:9

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah didn’t know the time frame of the Messiah’s appearance, he just knew God’s Son would come. Zechariah took God at His Word, and believed. God’s salvation and the Righteous Redeemer was worth the wait. The Israelites would need to cling to these promises for hundreds of years until God was made flesh and dwelt among them.

Today we began an art project that gave us an inkling of the patience Zechariah and many others exercised waiting on God to send the Savior. We wrapped toilet paper over a bowl and wet it down again and again until a thick covering formed. Then we set it aside. We tried to figure out how long it might take for it to completely dry, with guesses ranging from a few hours to a day (in kid terms: forever). This project will be the skirt for an angel we will make when we meet the Heavenly Host in the night sky on our Journey to the Manger. We counted 15 days until we can finish what we started. Though both kids were a little disappointed we couldn’t complete it today, they accepted that there was a good reason we had to wait.

God’s promises are sure. We can count on God to do what He says He will do. Even so, we struggle in the waiting. We want God to answer our prayers or come through for us on our time-table. In other words, God needs to show up right now! Our Heavenly Father wants more for us. He knows how much our hearts are shaped for holiness “in the meantime.”

God will follow through. He always finishes what He begins.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.